Page 2260 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will take that question on notice and I will try to get the information before the end of question time.

MS CASTLEY: Thank you Madam Speaker. Minister, can you confirm whether any staff either have left, or will be leaving soon, due to the training accreditation issues?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Again Madam Speaker, I will take the question on notice and try to get back by the end of question time.

MR COCKS: Minister, are there any other units that have had difficulty with training accreditation?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you Madam Speaker. Again, I will take the question on notice.

Budget—ACT population

MR PETTERSSON: My question is for the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Chief Minister, what does the recent ABS population data mean for the ACT government’s capacity to fund more services and infrastructure through the budget?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. It is an important boost and, indeed, recognition of a lived experience in our city over the last decade—we have been the fastest growing state or territory in the nation. The ABS rebased the size of the ACT population when they took the 2021 census and found that there were 22,000 more people than they had projected. That is about a five per cent increase in the territory’s population. That had not been accounted for in the Federal Financial Relations system, so the impact over the last several years has been that the ACT has missed out on a greater share of our single largest revenue source. We have not been receiving our fair share of national funding. That now changes, and the actual ACT population will be reflected in the distribution of the GST into the future.

I have met with the ABS and their minister, Andrew Leigh, and offered ACT government assistance by way of our datasets to verify what I understand will be work on a changed methodology for the ABS in calculating population between the five-yearly census. We want to see that methodology change put in place because it does directly impact on revenues available to the territory government to deliver the services our growing population needs.

MR PETTERSSON: Chief Minister, how does this more accurate rebasing of our population affect our future planning.

MR BARR: As we have grown from 370,000 to 455,000 people over the last decade, we have obviously experienced some growing pains. It reinforces the need for the data to be more accurate that will inform our share of national revenue. The GST is one element, but it also includes national partnership agreements that are population based—housing and homelessness, and skills, are a couple of examples in that category.

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